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AIBU?

Wtf do I do. Reaching my wits end here.

39 replies

babybubblescomingsoon · 26/06/2017 12:37

Hello everyone,
I am having a conversation with a flatmate tonight, I would need your advice to prepare it, here is the situation:
-A few months ago I responded to an ad on spareroom for a sublet, all bills included, no deposit, with the original contract running to end of august.
-I only discovered a few weeks ago that this subletting was illegal, for we are now asked to stay out of the flat when viewings are arranged. In their contract, they could sublet if they informed the landlord, which they didn't. In my case, it would have been problematic in terms of council tax since they are all students and I am a professional
-the said flatmate is the contact point to the landlord. For months we have had a highly dysfunctional shower, which we have asked repeatedly to fix. She only sorted it out last week because we texted her once again about it, her argument for not being more proactive was that the landlord was not responsive and she didn't want to piss him off because they have a big deposit. She took offense at our message, in which we told her that she had rights and should look them up because the landlord's attitude was unacceptable.
-The shower has been fixed now, but there is still one glaring issue: the said flatmate has a room which opens on the garden, and she never locks that door. The problem is that none of our rooms have locks, so anyone could come in and steal our things. We have told her about this issue, and yet she still continues not locking it. Moreover, her room is supposed to be the living room, which is why she pays half our rent even though it is the best one. In practice, the living room could not be used by us, because it was horribly messy.
-Because she was upset with our message, we had a quick explanation on friday night, during which she said that as illegal subtenants we had no rights, and should feel lucky that we are not paying council tax.

Now our position now: we plan on moving out in August, so July is basically our last month of rent. Given that to her we have no rights, we should have no responsibilities either. What can we reasonably ask for for the next month as a consequence? Withholding rent? A reduced rent? What is your advice, and do you have any idea of what we can do as compensation for being put in this illegal situation without our consent? Thank you

OP posts:
MrsOverTheRoad · 26/06/2017 12:42

I wouldn't ask for anything. If you start asking for reductions now you could bring a world of trouble on your head. You've been naive at best and I'd just scarper and thank my stars it didn't turn ugly.

steppemum · 26/06/2017 12:43

just leave.
situation sound srubbish, anything you do will cause further upset for you.
Not worth it, just leave

humblesims · 26/06/2017 12:48

I'm pretty sure you must have realised this was a dodgy sublet the minute you walked in the door so I dont think you can expect anything really.

babybubblescomingsoon · 26/06/2017 12:50

humble I'm a 20 year old woman and it was my first time doing anything like this. So no, i wasn't aware actually. Smile

OP posts:
IWantABlueBanana · 26/06/2017 12:54

Deja vu

BMW6 · 26/06/2017 12:56

You should have left when you discovered that you were living illegally IMO. You should leave urgently and be more canny next time.

AppalazianWalzing · 26/06/2017 12:58

If you are the only flat mate who is not a student, the responsibility for the entire flats council tax is on you. It's arguably your responsibility to have made sure this was being paid, and nothing to do with whether your landlord was aware of the sublet.

So if anything, you are in the weakest position here. You can get your lead flat mate in trouble with the landlord, though it sounds like there wouldn't be that much of an issue. She can get you in much more trouble over the council tax.

notanevilstepmother · 26/06/2017 12:59

I don't think you should wait until August to move out. Find somewhere else to live temporarily before that if you possibly can.

Crunchymum · 26/06/2017 13:00

Didn't you post about this recently OP? Weren't you just going to leave?

HundredMilesAnHour · 26/06/2017 13:03

OP your original post says you didn't pay a deposit so what's stopping you from finding somewhere else and moving out asap?

Redsippycup · 26/06/2017 13:04

As the only person in the flat liable to pay council tax you are liable for the whole bill for the whole flat.

Keep your head down, move out asap and hope like hell no one (i.e. the girl you are subletting from!) reports you.

TheLionQueen1 · 26/06/2017 13:04

I would be leaving immediately before someone realised and throws you out leaving you with no where to go! And you are completely liable for the council tax living in a house of students; this happened to me when I dropped out of uni but was still living with uni friends in the house, not only will that be expensive but the fact you haven't been paying it is illegal and you could get done for it if they realise a non student is in the property.

Did you not have a contract when you moved in and realised then?

Leave immediately, don't pay July. The main contact is probably having a lovely time making money out of you!

Ps if it sounds too good to be true (I.e no council tax/deposit) then it normally isn' true!

shouldnthavesaid · 26/06/2017 13:12

I would just leave asap , organise somewhere else as soon as you can. Fwiw I've shared with students on and off since 2014 as a 'professional' and still have to pay council tax. It's illegal not to, I think there's a deduction but still have to pay something!

IamtheDevilsAvocado · 26/06/2017 13:12

You need to leave ASAP.

The sublet is illegal and you may well be liable for the entire council bill.

You could end up with a while host of problems landing on your shoulders

Confusedandintrigued · 26/06/2017 13:12

Ball is totally in your court.

You haven't done a thing wrong. She would be 100% responsible for the implications of being caught illegal subletting. Not you.

If I were you, I'd say for the last month here I'm paying 50% rent given all the issues.

StormTreader · 26/06/2017 13:16

Legally youre guilty of evading council tax, I really wouldnt be calling any attention to yourself right now.

Dizzybacon · 26/06/2017 13:18

There is an old saying, ignorance is no defence. I see you didn't know it was illegal subletting but it was your responsibility to ensure it was all above board. You don't have any right to ask for compensation.

babybubblescomingsoon · 26/06/2017 13:19

I'm not the one who signed contracts etc. I merely responded to an ad on SpareRoom saying it was a rental with all bills included. Financially I'm in a position where I can't reasonably move until the beginning of August.

OP posts:
Dizzybacon · 26/06/2017 13:21

You don't have to of signed a contract. The contract was there, you paid money in return for a room. That's the contract

babybubblescomingsoon · 26/06/2017 13:23

Funny definition of a contract bacon.

OP posts:
unfortunateevents · 26/06/2017 13:24

I have no idea why you think you are entitled to withhold rent or to any kind of reduction! A flatmate leaving the door to the garden open does not equate to you not paying rent. Next time, make sure that you sign a proper contract setting out what your obligations are.

Dizzybacon · 26/06/2017 13:24

It's called offer and acceptance. Nothing funny about it, that's contract law!

RubbishMantra · 26/06/2017 13:31

Yup, like others have said, you'll be liable for 75% of the council tax for the time you were there.

I would just quietly start looking for somewhere else. Bear in mind though, if you rent a new place through an agency, you won't be able to use your present address for a reference due to the landlord being unaware that your room was sub-let to you.

MargaretCavendish · 26/06/2017 13:35

It's clear that your relationship with your housemate has badly broken down, but I can't see how you can justify staying another month but not paying rent? Either leave immediately - as you say, you're illegally subletting so this would, I suppose, be the most moral option - or stay and pay what you agreed to. As everyone else has said, you are fully liable for the council tax bill, which is probably £500+ since you've been there a few months. If you're going to continue to evade that then you don't have much of a leg to stand on with your disgust at her illegal subletting...

peachgreen · 26/06/2017 13:40

Assuming there are three or more legal tenants, OP isn't legally responsible for the council tax in this instance as it's a house of multiple occupation (HMO). The landlord is responsible. Though I suspect if the council chased him for the tax owed, he'd have a good case against OP as an illegal subletter in small claims court.

If there are less than three legal tenants, OP is responsible for the council tax, regardless of the illegal subletting. Even squatters are responsible for council tax!

www.citizensadvice.org.uk/housing/council-tax/council-tax/
www.gov.uk/private-renting/houses-in-multiple-occupation

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